Singapore likely venue for Volocopter’s commercial launch

Volocopter 2x flying at Helsinki international airport © Volocopter, V. Kollwig

Volocopter, the Bruchsal, Germany-headquartered aircraft manufacturer specializing in electric multirotor helicopters, has announced that Singapore is now the forerunning venue for its commercial launch.

Volocopter is an 18-rotor drone electric air taxi developed with the intention of providing the capability of a short-hop air taxi service which will prove a viable option at the same price as a limousine ride. The company’s principal hurdles to date have been a lack of infrastructure, regulation and safety concerns. In addition, Singapore currently lacks helipads, while strict rules concerning the flying of drones will also need to be resolved. Volocopter hopes to conduct public test flights in conjunction with Singapore regulators within the next few months, while it is also eyeing up similar operating opportunities in Dubai and Germany.

The current time schedule for the provision of a fully operational air taxi service is within a period of two to three years. Backed by Daimler, Intel and Chinese car maker Greely, which each hold a ten percent stake in the company, Volocopter has so far recorded over 1,000 test flights, some human-operated and others remotely or autonomously operated. Singapore has attracted Volocopter through its proactive attitude towards autonomous vehicles; currently it plans to operate unmanned buses in three of its districts beginning 2022.

Speaking to Reuters news agency, joint Volocopter founder Alexander Zosel said: “For the commercial routes, we have two customers profiles: one is a business customer, so perhaps from the airport to the business centre, or for tourists flying from Marina Bay to Sentosa.” Marina Bay is Singapore’s business district and Sentosa is its popular resort island.

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